My family on the kids' 8th birthday, 2009
If you read my post about our struggle with infertility, you know that getting pregnant took many years of tests, procedures, heartache, perseverance, tears and money. We finally conceived on our final attempt at in vitro fertilization or IVF. I have many stories that I will share about our roller coaster ride with infertility treatments. Today, as we celebrate the birthday of our babies, I want to reflect on the 5 weeks I spent on hospital bed-rest before they were born.
While twin pregnancies are becoming more common, they still are not without risk. I didn’t have a care-free pregnancy. I first had what’s called a subchorionic hemorrhage during my 9th week of pregnancy. That is like a blood clot that forms between the placenta and uterine wall. I started bleeding at midnight on New Years Eve, 2001. I called my doctor in a panic (that’s right at midnight on New Years Eve…and he wasn’t even mad!). He was very reassuring and told me to lie down with my feet raised. Looking back, I’m sure this didn’t actually do anything other than give me the feeling that I was doing something! Anyway, that’s what I did. I barely moved for two days until we could get in for an ultrasound. We found both babies doing well with strong heartbeats. The blood clot dissolved on it’s own over the next couple of weeks, just as the doctor predicted and I was allowed to resume normal activity.
From my 11th week to my 28th week, things really went along very smoothly. A couple days into my 28th week I began having contractions. I called the doctor who told me to meet him at the hospital. I was given a shot of a drug called terbuteline and monitored for several hours. I was then sent home with a prescription for “terb” in pill form to take if I felt any more contractions. I was also put on bed-rest, where I was allowed to spend one hour a day sitting in
Gus' Lego Explosion
an upright position, make brief trips to the bathroom, and walk as far as from the bedroom to the couch. Basically, I was told to keep pressure off my cervix as much as possible. Between my 29th and 30th week, I had contractions that didn’t stop after I took the terbutaline. I spoke with my doctor and was told to go to the hospital for monitoring again. I was given another shot of terb and had the babies monitored, along with my contractions, which slowed, then stopped. I was sent home for more bed-rest.
Contractions started again at 31 weeks. I took my terbutaline and called the doctor. I was told to take another dose of terb but it did nothing to stop the contractions, which were now coming along at a steady pace. Again, off to the hospital I went. This time though, I was put on an intravenous drug called magnesium sulfate. It made me feel as if I’d been hit by a truck. I was so out of it, slow, tired and nauseous, and felt as if I were burning up from the inside. On the upside, my contractions began to slow. I thought they would monitor me for awhile, like the last time, then send me home. This was definitely not the case and I didn’t step foot in my house again for another 6 weeks. I was moved into a room where the doctor on-call told me I’d probably deliver that night. I was given a steroid shot to help the babies lungs mature and Philip and I talked about the possibility of having tiny preemies.
Ruby, Star and Chelsea
Morning came and I was still holding my own. I was being heavily monitored both for contractions and for the side-effects of the “mag” as we called it. It is a horrible drug to take. It makes you feel very hot and very thirsty but, ironically, makes you retain fluid so everything you ingest has to be measured as well as everything you…er…eliminate to make sure extra fluid containing magnesium isn’t being stored in your tissues. It’s a real catch-22. So thirsty, so little to drink! I think mag could be used as a form of torture for prisoners of war. I wasn’t a prisoner of war though, I was just another bedrest mommy-in-waiting at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center.
It was a sort of “best of times, worst of times” scenario. The best parts were that I could listen to my babies heartbeats all day long and knew I was in the right place should they or I need care. I was also off the hook from doing any sort of housework, chore or cooking of any sort and had people around me 24/7 willing to bring me things and help me if I needed it. There was also the glorious air conditioning. Our house was a small, California-style bungalow without a/c. This was summer in Los Angeles and I was hugely pregnant. I shudder to think how miserable and puffy I would have been if I hadn’t been in a cool room!
One of the saddest things for me was that I didn’t get to finish decorating my baby nursery. I had spent so many years listening to every else’s plans and looking at everyone else’s fnished products and here I was, missing my one and only chance to decorate a baby room of my own. Philip and my mom had to get everything finished during the 5 weeks I was in the hospital. They would both spend hours a day with me at the hospital. I’m sure they were bored stiff, but they did it. We would talk about all the progress made in the nursery – the valances were hung, the tiny clothes were washed and put away, the crib mobiles has been ordered…On day, after Philip went on a Babies ‘R Us shopping spree he went home, put up a few finishing touches and filmed a video of the babies’ room to bring to me. Oh, how I cried when I watched it…every time. So much so, that he threatened to take it away from me, but I cherished that video. I still get teary-eyed when I see it. I loved their nursery. It was so peaceful, with the pastel polka-dots and the mobiles playing “Imagine” by John Lennon. It was a dream realized, that’s for sure. My own babies, living in my own house.
During the first week of July, my 35th week of pregnancy, my “Baby A” (they refer to multiples in utero by the A,B,C’s to
Ruby and Gus at their Birthday Dinner
keep track of who is who) had virtually stopped growing. “Baby B” was good sized and head down, prepared for birth, but Baby A (who we call Ruby now ) was sitting on my cervix, blocking the door out, as it were. My doctor decided it was time for them to come out and our C-section was scheduled for July the 8, which also happens to be my brother’s birthday.
They were born at 36 weeks gestation. Ruby was first and weighed in at 4lbs15oz. Gus came out a minute later and weighed in at 6lb4oz. They were finally here, our long awaited babies, healthy, pink and screaming. Gus spent his first
night in the regular nursery because he swallowed fluid during birth and needed monitoring. Ruby was able to room in with us. The Beech Family was born!
That was 8 years ago today. Time sure has flown by! For their birthday today they opened cards and presents then we went shopping at the mall. Gus bought a new Star Wars Lego set and Ruby got two new Build-A-Bears. We watched a movie and went out for our traditional birthday sushi dinner. We took a little stroll around downtown, then headed home. Although their actual birthday has now come and gone, the celebration will continue with their big “Survivor” themed birthday party this weekend. It’s going to be a blast. I am one lucky lady!